A consulting arborist specialises in tree inspections, risk assessment reports and other reports pertaining to the trees health, vigor and amenity value. A regular local arborist normally focuses on the physical management of trees in an urban environment.
Both have been taken the same courses up until certificate III in Arboriculture, but consulting arborists have furthered their education to the level of a Diploma (Cert. V) and are equipped to do a more in-depth assessment of trees.
Most consulting arborists run regular tree services businesses and do consulting on the side as needed, though there are more and more arborists specializing in just tree reports.
A consulting arborist fees vary by the job, not by the hour. If you have a single tree that needs an arborist report to satisfy council, it will cost $350 – $500 for a detailed report and recommendation.
The price for reports for several trees on a property depending on the size and number of the trees would be $500 – $1000.
Reports vary in scope so it does depend quite a bit of the specific requests by council.
You will only need a consulting arborist if council has asked you for a report on a trees health you want to remove, or you are submitting a development application.
If you are just after some tree pruning or for a tree to be cut down, and you have council consent, then you will just need to call a regular local arborist to quote your job and carry out the work.
Finding local consulting arborist in your area is a little trickier than finding a regular arborist or tree service.
As mentioned above a lot of the time they are one in the same, but if you wanted to just get a registered consulting arborist you are best going to the Institute of Consulting Arborist Australia website site to see the list of consulting arborist they recommend in your area.